Devil Rays
2005 Summer Season
Federal Division Champions




By Scot Sweet / PCBL Staff Writer
It can safely be said that this 2005 Federal Division Championship produced its share of excitement. What was to be learned in this game between the Devil Rays and the Yankees was the old adage - it's never over till it's over. And most of us thought that this game would never end, due to the fact that neither team was willing to lay down.

The Devil Rays failed to score in the top half of the 1st inning, bringing up the Yankees to try and strike 1st. And they do in grand fashion. Leadoff hitter Emilio Becerra reached base by way of a fielding error and advances to 2nd on yet another error to open the game. Victor Zamora singles to score Becerra. Robert Garcia draws a walk to put 2 on for Armando Garcia, who flies out to advance the runners. Nate Leiker follows with a single to score a run. Jorge Torres follows with a double to score 2 more. The next batter is hit by a pitch, after which Rudy Vargas singles home yet another. When all is said and done in the inning, the Yankees get 7 runs on 4 hits and 3 errors and take a commanding early lead.

Going into the top of the 4th inning, the Devil Rays come up - still trailing 7-0. Pitcher Josh Herman leads off with a single, followed by Nick Robideau who also singles. They both advance on a balk and Herman scores on an error by the catcher. Brian Decker hits a sacrifice fly to right to score a run. Steve Owens follows with a base on balls and Jason Richards singles, scoring a run. They get 3 runs on 3 hits and now trail the Yankees by 4, down 7-3 through 3 1/2.

The Yankees come up empty in the bottom of the 4th inning, giving the Devil Rays yet another opportunity to close the gap. The D Rays start the top of the 5th inning with Chris Mcleod, who gets on by way of an error and advances to 3rd with a pair of stolen bases. Leadoff hitter David Decker singles to score McLeod. Nick Robideau singles to score Decker. Chris Oliver follows with a 2-run homer to tie the game at 7. This would complete the scoring in the inning for the Devil Rays, but they do the unimaginable by getting 4 big runs in the 5th inning to erase the 7-0 deficit, bringing the game to even.

The Yanks come up in the bottom of the 5th with Jorge Torres, who doubles to lead off the inning. He advances to 3rd on a pass ball and scores on a Bobby Rodriguez single. Rodriguez later steals 3rd and scores on a fielder's choice. The Yankees get 2 runs and retake the lead, 9-7.

In the top of the 6th inning, the Devil Rays send up Jason Richards who singles to start things off. The next batter strikes out. With 1 out, Chris Mcleod walks. The next batter would also strike out, followed by a walk by Josh Herman. Nick Robideau comes up with 2 out and 2 on and he singles home a pair to tie the game at 9-9.

The Yankees come up in the bottom of the 7th with the game still even at 9. Nate Leiker would lead off with a single and advance on a pass ball. Bobby Rodriguez would come up 2 batters later and single, scoring Leiker for the only run in the inning. However, they retake the lead, up 10-9. But here come the Devil Rays in the top of the 8th inning, and at this point in the game we know that anything can happen. Pinch hitter Brian Willis gets the leadoff walk and 2 batters later, David Decker goes deep for a 2-run shot to retake the lead again, now up by a score of 11-10 through 7 1/2.

The Yanks fail to score in the bottom half of the 8th, sending up the Devil Rays in the top of the 9th with the slim 1-run lead. Singles by Steve Owens and Jason Richards start off the rally in the 9th. Owens steals 3rd and scores on a fielder's choice. They get 1 run in the inning and lead going into the bottom of the 9th by 2, up 12-10.

The Yankees come up in the bottom of the 9th needing a pair of runs to keep their Championship hopes alive. The 1st 2 batters would retire in order, leaving us all to believe that the Devil Ray celebration was about to begin. With 2 out, Nate Leiker gets on safely when a fly ball to center is dropped, extending the inning for Jorge Torres, who doubles home Leiker - Yanks trail by 1 with the tying run on 2nd and 2out. Up steps Bobby Rodriguez, who singles home Torres to tie the game. The last batter would strike out, but the Yankees get 2 improbable runs and even this game up at 12. We are going to Extra Innings!

Both teams would go scoreless in the 10th, bringing the DRays up in the top of the 11th inning in a game that was approaching the 4 hour mark. The Devil Rays start the 11th with Nick Robideau who singles. Chris Oliver steps up next and he also singles, bringing up Brian Decker with no out and 2 on. He singles home Robideau, after which Chris Oliver also scores due to a fielding error. They get 2 runs and put the Yanks in a very familiar position - get 2 runs or your season is over.

Well, no drama this time as the Yankees go down in order in the bottom of the 11th. They score 12 runs on 10 hits in the game, but it falls short as they loose to a tenacious Devil Ray squad that didn't know how to give up.

The DRays pull off the victory in a wild one, winning 14 - 12 and capturing the 2005 Federal Division Championship. Congratulations to the champion Devil Rays, who come from an early 7-0 deficit to pull off this incredible victory!

The Numbers:
Devil Rays: 14 runs      18 hits      7 errors    
Yankees:    12 runs      10 hits      5 errors

Devil Ray's pitcher Brian Decker was chased after working only 2/3 inning and giving up 5 of the 7 runs in the 1st. Josh Herman went the rest of the way, allowing only 5 runs on 6 hits and striking out 7.

Game Time: 3 hours 58 mins

(HP) Scot Sweet
(1B) Doug Belsheim
(2B) John Laughlin
(3B) Peter Sakajian